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Machine Compare

Switching to the digital basket: The growing popularity of e-commerce

7 February 2021

As the first trend reports rank our online searches, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: 2021 will be a year of transition. With major disruptions dominating much of 2020, individuals and companies alike have had to adopt entirely new habits in the matter of months, if not weeks. With the first vaccines now administrated and hope slowly returning back on the horizon, much is expected go back to pre-COVID normal. But some behaviours seem to have changed for good – like our shopping habits.

Ushered into our homes for much of 2020, most companies quickly came to terms with the fact that they would be welcoming less and less consumers through their doors and have to be virtually invited into their buyers’ homes instead. With lockdowns and social distancing measures blocking entry to brick-and-mortar stores and in-person meetings, digital commerce or e-commerce saw a massive surge throughout last year.

According to Forbes, total online spending reached $82.5 billion in May 2020, up to 77 per cent year-over-year. Vivek Pandya at Adobe’s Digital Insights told Forbes: “According to our data, it would’ve taken between 4 and 6 years to get to the levels that we saw in May if the growth continued at the same levels it was at for the past few years.” And it seems buyers and sellers are warming up to the idea, with e-commerce expected to see a further 265% growth now in 2021.

And these new buying behaviours are slowly cementing. Two thirds of participants surveyed by McKinsey in nine of thirteen countries disclosed, for example, to having tried new kinds of shopping. In all thirteen countries, 65 per cent also revealed they intended to continue to do so. This means brands must be increasingly open to reaching consumers in new ways, particularly through digital means due to its growing popularity.

Similar changes are being felt in the B2B market, with 70-80 per cent of buyers and sellers admitting a preference for purchasing online and engaging in remote interactions instead of in-person sales, with a mere 20 per cent of these buyers wishing that in-person sales resume once the worst of the pandemic is behind us. The same report also reveals that B2B buyers are willing to spend more when shopping online. Taken together, these facts point to a future where shopping aisles quietly transform into virtual listings and heavy carts are traded in for lighter virtual counterparts.

Warehouse holding e-commerce products

Re-commerce isn’t far behind

Attitudes haven’t only changed in terms of how we buy, online or offline, but also what we buy. Gaining momentum in the apparel industry, re-commerce or reverse commerce, is making headlines within and across the industry. Buying and selling previously owned goods via e-commerce platforms is now a common sales practice, allowing individuals to search for their goods at a lower price.

And as fashion would have it, this trend is becoming increasingly fashionable – even beyond the apparel industry. So much so, that the re-ecommerce industry is expected to double in size over the next five years – bound to aid in the worldwide transition towards a circular economy.

The (r)e-commerce site for spare parts

At Machine Compare, we have long foreseen a shift towards digital buying and selling in industry, as well as the acute need for greater circularity. To date, we’ve identified an astonishing 5B worth of unused, dead stock and obsolete spare parts which – if nothing is done – will continue to sit on warehouse shelves at the expense of our planet.

The launch of our e-commerce platform, Marketplace, in March 2021, means that we can now get these spare parts back into the market where they belong. Together we can put greater circularity in motion. Discover how it works for you as a buyer or as a seller on the site.